VADR Media, the parent company of chess broadcasting platform Checkmate has announced the acquisition of European-based Szuperchess, a company renowned for AI Gaze tracking Anti-Cheat technology, for an undisclosed sum.
Checkmate key advisor’s Anurag Khurana said, “Checkmate’s esports-first approach and integration of Szuperchess is set to bring fair play back to the game and open new competitive opportunities for the 85 million people who play chess in India.” Khurana is the CEO of Newgen Esports and the former head of Jio Esports and Riot Games India.
Checkmate’s commitment to fair play extends beyond chess, with plans to implement the acquired technology in mind sports, video games, igaming and metaverse projects. VADR, a member of the Esports Integrity Commission, has also secured partnerships with the Asian Chess Federation and Arab Esports Federation, establishing Checkmate as their exclusive online integrity, tournament and broadcast partner. The Asia Chess Federation is the governing continental body for chess in Asia with the All India Chess Federation as a member. The two international Federations represent 73 national chess and esports Federations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania.
Szuperchess founder Joan Buch Prades stated, “Our proprietary technology gives Checkmate a significant competitive edge and the ability to scale cash tournaments globally. Szuperchess has been battle-tested by grandmasters across multiple tournaments, and I’m excited to join their AI and integrity team and help expand its capabilities.”
Szuperchess’s innovative AI and computer vision-based technology has been billed the “Zoom for chess tournaments,” as it monitors players in real-time during competitive matches to ensure a level playing field. The acquisition aligns perfectly with VADR Media’s development of Checkmate.live, an esports-first chess tournament and broadcasting platform that uses cutting-edge technology to enable players of all skill levels to compete for cash prizes, credits and collectibles.
VADR managing director John McRae stated, “When we initiated the project, we identified the issue of cheating in online chess as a significant fair play and business risk, especially with cash prize pools being added into the equation. After considerable efforts by our team, the acquisition of Szuperchess and partnerships with key governance bodies, we’re ready to bring the fight to those who don’t play fair.”
Asian Chess Federation president Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakboot Al Nahayan commented, “Technology has played an important part in the journey and development of sports over the years, often overlooking chess. In recent years, the onset of online gaming and internet improvements has enabled greater access globally. The lack of effective integrity measures for online chess has also been a concern for the community hindering greater involvement. The partnership with Checkmate will allow the Asian Chess Federation to deliver competitive online tournaments and increase opportunities for our players. A key determining factor in the decision to partner with Checkmate was their commitment to improving the integrity of online chess and their ability to successfully create a solution that satisfies ACF’s vision for the future. Once launched, ACF will be able to host official online events that are inclusive, and equitable and will provide even greater access for our members.”
Recent high-profile cheating allegations, such as the Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann incident, have highlighted the need for effective real-time anti-cheat solutions.
Esports Integrity Commission global strategy and partnerships director Stephen Hanna added, “The VADR team have shown that they are gearing up to be leaders in promoting integrity measures in chess and online, and we are delighted to be working with them to bring fair play and true competitive integrity to casual and tournaments.”